6 top crops to grow in containers
Growing your own food is very satisfying, and you don’t need a big space to do it. Plenty of fruit, vegetables, and herbs will grow happily in pots on a patio, balcony, or even on a sunny windowsill. Here are a few crops that you can grow in containers to get you started:
Vegetables to grow in pots
- Bush tomatoes are perfect for pots. Unlike the tall cordon varieties, there’s no need to pinch out side shoots, and they don’t need staking, although you may need to prop up very heavily laden stems. Tomato ‘Tumbling Tom’ is a reliable favourite, producing masses of sweet red cherry tomatoes in summer. If you only have space for a pot on your windowsill, try Tomato ‘Balconi Red’, which grows to just 30cm high.
- Dwarf French and runner beans are perfect for pots and easy to grow from seed. In late May, plant two or three runner bean seeds in a 30cm diameter pot filled with multipurpose compost, and you’ll be picking the beans by mid-summer. French beans prefer the weather to be a bit warmer, so wait until June to sow them outside or sow them inside in small pots in May and plant them out in June. Runner bean ‘Hestia’ and French bean ‘Safari’ are both ideal for pots. Pick the beans regularly to keep your plants producing more.
Fruit to grow in pots
- Strawberries grow well in pots and even in hanging baskets, keeping them well out of reach of hungry slugs and snails. Planting a few different varieties will give you a long harvest season. Strawberry ‘Honeoye’ is good for early fruits, ‘Fenella’ gives you a good crop in early summer, and ‘Florence’ will fruit well into mid-summer.
- Blueberries need acidic soil, so they’re often best grown in pots, even if you have a big garden. Look for self-fertile varieties like Blueberry ‘Bluecrop’, which will produce a crop without needing another blueberry bush nearby. As well as producing delicious fruit, blueberry plants are very ornamental, with pinkish-white flowers in spring and bright orange leaves in autumn.
Herbs for pots
- Basil grows well in a pot on a sunny windowsill where you can pick the leaves as you need them. When harvesting basil leaves, look for the nodes where a new pair of leaves are about to shoot and harvest just above these, so the plant stays bushy.
- Mint is best grown in a pot, as it spreads by underground runners and can be invasive if grown in the ground. You can split your mint plant every couple of years to stop it from getting rootbound and give you extra plants. Remove the plant from its pot, tease the rootball apart or use a knife to cut it into two or three smaller sections. Re-plant each section in a separate pot.
We have a fantastic range of vegetables, fruit and herbs for pots in our centre, so visit us soon and start enjoying your own home-picked harvests!